Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Current "Emoji" :)

The UCD "SWAGGIES" before warm-ups tonight!

Again, I feel like it has been awhile since I last blogged.  But really it’s only been a few days—this has just been an extremely long week.  Every time I start getting discouraged about the pain I might be feeling or these dumb crutches, I remember that I had surgery just a week ago.  One single week.  Seven days.  When I think about how short of a time that is, I decide that I’ve already come such a long way and progressed so much.  And considering how recently I had all this, I’m doing really well.

Now on to the more important stuff. J Today was the second home meet of the season!  UC Davis vs. California and Seattle Pacific.  Last Sunday, I refused to miss the first home meet of the season.  I was excited to be there and it was a lot of fun, but it can’t even begin to compare to what I felt today.

The only thing worse than standing on the sidelines, is not even being able to do that—sitting and cheering and watching, but still feeling too far away.  However today I forced myself to be on that sideline.  But don’t worry, Mom and Dad—I sat when I needed to.  I wasn’t completely stupid.

Still, back to tonight.  It was, plain and simply, FUN.  It was still annoying being on crutches, but I loved watching every single second of the competition today.  I loved seeing teammates step up and do what I KNOW they can do.  I loved seeing them fight for every tenth they could and put their whole heart into their routines.  And I loved seeing them having fun.  I’m so proud of them and at times, I found myself literally jumping up and down on one foot with excitement.  Now while I’m currently up at 2 o’clock in the morning, thinking about the fact that I have three midterms and a design project due on Monday and Tuesday alone… I’m noticing that my knee is actually hurting pretty badly.  But if I could do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Because I’m happy.  Genuinely and truly content right now.  I wouldn’t trade that for (almost) anything in the world.

So way to go SWAGGIES! A tenth and a half behind Cal, we’ll get them next time.  I hope they’re ready for an upset at home next week!

Oh and p.s. Any of you iPhone or Smartphone users out there, if you send me an “emoji,” it will show up as a box on my phone!  And Kailyn will make fun of me! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

First of Many

I really wish I would’ve taken full blogging advantage of the free time that I had these last couple days, but alas, here I am, 3 days post-surgery, and I’m just now updating.

Thursday night, I went to pick up my mom from the airport, and we ate at Burgers and Brew with (the famous) Callie Wissman.  Fun fact: all three of us ordered bacon cheeseburgers.  I’m proud.  My food cut off  before the surgery was midnight, so I did my very best to consume as much food as possible before then!  It was delicious.  Oops, Kailyn did catch me finish the other half of my burger at 12:02 a.m. on Friday.  Shhh don’t tell.

Friday was my first surgery outside of North Carolina, my first surgery NOT at Presbyterian Orthopedic Hospital, and my first surgery without my dad right next to me.  As an anesthesiologist, during my earlier surgeries, he would be the one to set up my IV and he was always right by my side.  I know it was hard for him to not be there with me, but he did everything he could, and I appreciate him checking up on me!  And talking to all my doctors and such… my mom and I only understand so much “doctor lingo.”

Nurses were asking me if I was nervous going into the surgery, but to be honest, I really wasn’t.  I was anxious about knowing what they were going to find—were the tunnels going to work?  But the actual surgery… eh, been there, done that.

Three to four hours later, I wake up in recovery, and the very first thing I remember was mumbling to my mom, “Do I have an ACL?”  I sure did.  My next, most immediate goal: wake up (and stay awake), and get rid of the horrible nauseated feeling.

I’ll spare the gory details and fast forward.  I spent Friday and Saturday night in Marin, then drove back to Davis with my mom for the meet on Sunday.  Another side note: Davis destroyed Air Force for their first home meet of the season!  So proud J.  I made it through the meet, sitting and elevating the best I could, then went home, took my anti-inflammatories, and iced!

After today, officially one day of rehab down.  Many more to go...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just Another Hurdle

Still officially getting surgery on Friday, I can’t be more excited about seeing my mom tomorrow and getting this ball rolling.  I can’t wait to be healed.  I can’t wait to be fixed.  I can’t wait to do gymnastics again.  Or at least any sort of physical activity.  (Today I broke my previous record and was able to ride the stationary bike for 35 minutes! However, I was on level 1… and still didn’t really break a sweat.)

But today my surgeon, Dr. Cassandra Lee, called me because she took a look at the MRI I had back in December.  This was post-ACL tearing, but pre-meniscus or whatever damage that may have occurred last week.  Apparently, the holes in my leg from the first ACL surgery are larger than usual, or at least than she expected.  If the holes are not in the position that they need to be for this second reconstruction surgery, she may have to go in on Friday, perform a bone graft to fix the holes, then call it a day.  Then three or four months later, after the bone graft is healed, she would perform a second surgery to replace the ACL.  Then, I can begin my ACL rehabilitation.

Dr. Lee won’t know for sure until she goes in on Friday.  Which means that I won’t know for sure, until I wake up from surgery—either with an ACL or not.  I know it’s not productive for me to worry about it, but it doesn’t really change how I feel.  Because now I’m scared.  I’m scared to wake up and have to hear that it’s not fixed yet; that I have to wait even longer; that I have to go in for a fifth surgery.

I feel like I’m not being completely unreasonable, but I’m trying my absolute best not to let it get me down.  I just need to trust my doctor, and trust that through whatever happens, God has a plan—and it will be revealed.  People all day were reminding me about Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  While that has been helpful, and I greatly appreciate it, another verse stood out to me today.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
-1 Corinthians 10:13

It’s not that I actually feel all that “tempted,” but in this verse, I find comfort in the fact that God will not give me more than I can handle.  If it turns out that I need the bone graft surgery first, I believe and I pray, that God will provide me with enough strength to handle it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ready or Not?

It’s about time.  Finally my luck is about to turn around.

The last 24 hours were a little rough.  Well, kind of.   Yesterday, thanks to a meet at Stanford and Martin Luther King, Jr., I had the day off from practice and school.  I thoroughly enjoyed it all, but kind of killed my productivity by taking a nap around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  That was a seriously poor decision, because when I woke up, I was seriously lagging.  I proceeded to drive then crutch to where I needed to take pictures for my Photography class.  The assignment calls for pictures of landscapes, cityscapes, etc.  But because of my nap, I missed the sunlight and couldn’t take any pictures.  Also, shout out to the really nice guy that yelled at me while I was crutching, “Sucks to be crippled!”  Yes, thank you, kind man.  I didn’t know that I was struggling.

Oh, and my bike was stolen today.  Cool.  Fortunately, I won’t be needing it any time soon.  Because….

Here’s the schedule for the next couple days.
Wednesday: I should get my package from my mom and dad! SO excited.
Thursday: My mom comes to Davis!
Friday: Surgery! I get a new knee!  

Words cannot express how excited I am to get the ball rolling.  With the first UCD home meet on Sunday, I sincerely hope I can be there to support my teammates.  But I guess we will see!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Part 2: No Regrets

At first, I really don’t remember crying.  I kind of landed and just thought to myself, “Crap.  There went that.”  I remember being in shock, and I couldn’t move my leg.  Brace and all, I just didn’t want to move. Eventually, I got up.  With the help of Missy and our student trainer, Sarah, I started walking.  Then I could do it all on my own.  Missy checked out my knee, but it slowly started hurting more.  When she asked me to get up and walk, I really had no problem at all.  I was doing it on my own, but then the pain started to hit me, and I couldn’t keep going.  As I iced, I noticed everything swelling up and hurting more.  Then it got to the point where I couldn’t even put any pressure on it.

So that’s where I am now.  Crutching, because I can’t walk more than ten steps on my own.  Once again, it’s pretty disappointing.   I was close, but looking back, maybe I was a little crazy…  I asked an awful lot out of the remaining (functioning) parts of my knee.  But when people asked me if I really wanted to go through with this brace thing, they asked me if I ended up making it worse, would I regret it?  At the time, I said probably not, because the thought of maybe competing was so appealing, that I couldn’t turn it down.  Still, this very moment?  No regrets.  I wish there were more that I could do, but this time, I’ve literally tried as hard as I could.  No one would be able to say anything different, and I won’t have to look back and wonder “what if?”

So no looking back; no changing my mind.  I’m just going to continue to move forward and focus on the next step for my team and the next step for myself.  ACL surgery, here I come.  You better be ready for me, because I’m ready for you.

Part 1: A Proud Aggie

Some people called me crazy.  Some encouraged me to really reconsider, but I knew what I wanted.  But between now and my last blog post, there have been some more recent events.

First of all, I am so proud of my teammates for their meet on Friday.  I seem to have grazed  over that detail (props to Anna Shumaker for knowing the word I was trying to say).  Anyways, this year we are small, but we are very talented.  However the problem with gymnastics is that it is physically demanding on the body.  Then this year in particular, happens to be one of those years where everyone is feeling those physical demands.  Everyone has bumps, bruises, and pains—some explainable and others not.  But with our numbers being as small as they are, the people who can physically push through, the pressure is on them.

I don’t mean to make it sound like those who can’t do a routine, are not important, because without a doubt, they are.  I’m one of them, and I feel like I’m still important.  But anyways I’m getting ahead of myself.  Back to the teammates.  I am so proud of how hard they are working and fighting right now.  I trust each and every one of them, and I believe that no matter where we finish at the end of the season, I couldn’t have asked any more from them.

Now back to the more recent events.  We have a meet at Stanford on Sunday, against two additional Nor-Cal schools, Sacramento State and San Jose State.  It’s going to be a good meet, and I’m excited to see what we aggies can do.  However truthfully, I was more excited about the potential to compete.  I was working on my landings, my jumps, my routine endurance: I was ready.  All I need was a dismount that actually landed, instead of rolled out.

So the plan was set into motion by my trainer and coach.  Plain old double backs that land on a mat on Tuesday, blind front giants in front of the double back on Wednesday, and then full routines on Thursday.  If I still felt good, I may have been ready for Stanford… or at least  for the next week, the first HOME meet of the season.

After successfully landing the dismount on Tuesday, Wednesday was a little tougher.  I warmed up with one dismount that over-rotated, but on the second try, as soon as I went for the landing, I fell forward, hearing another pop in my knee. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Little Bit of a "Squeak" in My Step

As promised, I finally have a picture of my brace!  I would call it “shiny,” but after only one practice with it, I chipped the paint from knocking it on the bar a few times. 

The team traveled to Arizona State on Thursday for our opening season meet.  Thinking my brace was going to come on Thursday, I asked our volunteer assistant coach if we could have practice.  The sooner I can do the things that require the brace, the sooner I can do a full routine… and the sooner I can compete!  Our trainer requested practice in the morning on Thursday, so bright and early, Kailyn and I awoke to go workout… by ourselves.  We love bars! Oh, and the poor student athletic trainer who showed up EARLY, and had to watch just the two of us.  (We are VERY grateful.) By noon, we were done with practice and rehab, so it really wasn’t too bad.  However, because practice was so early, I didn’t have my brace yet. Which kind of defeated the whole purpose of having the extra practice.  Oh well.

The next day, I got fitted for my brace during rehab in the morning!  Then got to try some bars at practice.  The brace makes my knee feel so much better, but we’ll see how dismounts at the end of the routine feels.  Oh and this time at practice, we had (at one point) three student athletic trainers, and a head ATC.  Impressive, especially considering Kailyn was being forced to take a day off.  There was no way I was going to get hurt!

Over the weekend I’ve been wearing my brace around the apartment, just to get used to it.  Missy said that she wants me to wear it so much that I feel naked without it.  However I have noticed that there’s a little bit of a squeak in my brace when I walk in it.  Nothing a little WD-40 can’t fix, right?  Squeak or no squeak.  I’m excited.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Years Resolution

It’s officially the new year.  Which doesn’t feel that different from the last year, but it does mean one thing for collegiate gymnasts all across the country: it’s time for season.  In the 2011 season, it was not all that hard for me to accept that I wasn’t really competing or that I wasn’t in line-up.  Maybe I didn’t mind because I knew going into my freshman year that I was going to get little to no “playing” time.  I was okay with that.  Because I still got to train the events that I could do, and I was just having fun doing gymnastics.  Even standing on the sidelines at the meets I had a blast: cheering, moving mats, high fiving my teammates.  It really didn’t matter what I was doing; I felt important.  Maybe that was naïve of me—but it’s how I felt.  And if I had a good attitude, who was really going to complain?

Then at the last home meet of the 2011 season, I caught a glimpse of that competition feeling.  Just one event.  One routine.  One exhibition.  And I didn’t even make it.  I fell on the dismount.  Right on my butt.  But it was fun!  Just like all the other meets had been.  However at the next away meet, I set myself up for disappointment.  I thought I was going to exhibition again, only to find out that my coach just forgot to tell me that it wasn’t my spot this week.  The disappointment was heart breaking, and that’s what made that meet so miserable in my mind.  I tried my very hardest to put on that same strong, good attitude and tell myself that this is fun, but I just couldn’t make that particular meet “fun.”

So maybe that’s what’s making these last couple weeks so hard.  As the rest of the team is getting ready for season, I can’t help but feel like that spot that was so close to being mine one month ago, is no longer there.  It’s the disappointment that makes this so hard, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way.  It wasn’t supposed to be this hard.  But I have two ways to look at this.  Regardless of if I am able to do a full bar routine in a couple of weeks or not, I can choose to focus on the disappointment and continue to feel discouraged, or I can focus on finding that same (naïve) joy that I had going into last season.  I am going to try and individually move as far forward as possible, but I’m more importantly going to help my team move forward into the season that WE have in front of US.

So there it is.  My officially declaration to focus on the future that is in front of me, instead of the future that was ALMOST in front of me.  And I encourage all of you to remind me of that when it seems like I’ve forgotten it.  Call it my New Years Resolution.  Happy New Year to you all and GO AGGIES!